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Grading the Cowboys’ draft picks after preseason game against Colts

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How did the 2017 Cowboys’ class look? Also, some honorable mention “rookies”.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys got the win 24-19 against the Colts, how did the rookies look? First, a reminder of the grading system.

[How we grade:

Outstanding- player(s) that really stood out with playmaking abilities

Good- player(s) that had solid performances with high potential shown

Fair- player(s) that flashed potential but need more opportunities to improve

Poor- player(s) that are failing to develop or playing poorly

Incomplete- player(s) that haven’t been mentioned, unknown commodities, Non-participants]

Taco Charlton- Good

Taco didn’t register a single stat line but allow me to tell you what makes this the second straight week of good stuff from Charlton. For one, Taco is valuable in the run game and showed that he can hold the edge, allowing the linebackers to clean up. However, his best play last night:

Charlton almost got the sack here and he smoked Anthony Castonzo in the process. It was a great play but poor execution by the other defenders that should have seen that ball and picked it off. Charlton had him beat from the snap. The Colts do have a weak offensive line but give credit to Charlton for making that play. On another play, his pass rush forced a Colts holding call, another win for the Cowboys.

The Incompletes (Non-Participants)

Chidobe Awuzie (ankle/hamstring), Jourdan Lewis (hamstring), Ryan Switzer (hamstring), Xavier Woods (hamstring)

It was Duke Thomas having another solid performance and getting help from Dejuan Butler. Both of those guys combined for nine tackles. Overall, the secondary only surrendered one touchdown but you would like to get a chance to see the drafted cornerbacks get some time. Awuzie played well in the Hall of Fame game but has missed the last two preseason games. Lewis hasn’t seen but a few days on the practice field.

With Switzer out, it was Lance Lenoir who had ups and downs. As a punt returner, Lenoir seemingly has the same return every time. If he doesn’t bobble the ball, he’ll take five steps and slide toward the ground. They need Switzer out there but he re-aggravated his hamstring this week.

Woods didn’t play after lighting up the field last week against the Rams. It doesn’t look like his hamstring tightness is all too serious but again, you want to see the progression in these games.

Marquez White- Fair

White was bothered by some hamstring soreness last week but made it to the field against the Colts. In back to back weeks, Duke Thomas has opened up the conversation as to who should be kept. White had three tackles last night but two came after big gains by Indianapolis.

These last two preseason games will be important for White to perform well because he’s in a dead heat with Thomas. White has done a nice job of covering receivers with his ability to remain tight but Thomas has been the guy finishing the plays. White hasn’t been playing poorly, he just needs to get himself on the highlight reel.

Noah Brown- Good

Brown only had one catch but it was this 19-yarder for the score from Cooper Rush:

DannyPhantom on Noah:

“This was the first time in a month that I started giving serious consideration to Noah Brown making the 53-man roster. And it hasn't been because I haven't liked him. I do.

He's got a lot of traits that fit nicely with this football team. With the team having five receivers already set in stone and very limited room on the roster, it's hard to justify holding a spot for another receiver.

But the Cowboys might have to find a way to do just that. Brown ran a perfect slant & go route to cap off a nice six-play, 76-yard touchdown drive. He had a good showing on Saturday. If he keeps playing like that, it might be hard to sneak him on the practice squad.”

Brown looked really good on that play and showed the nose for the end zone. He’s going to need a few more of those types of plays to make the Cowboys willing to keep a sixth receiver. The only other play Noah Brown was mentioned on was a blatant unnecessary roughness call:

These are plays that really make coaches angry and there’s no good explanation for it. These plays also typically come with hefty fines, too. Brown gets a good grade for the touchdown catch as that’s ultimately what got him drafted but needs to control himself. If he makes the team, he’ll be asked to play special teams. They need to be able to trust that he won’t take those types of shots that could hurt the team.

The Poor Man’s Club

Joey Ivie and Jordan Carrell

Both of these defensive tackles struggle quite a bit and the Colts’ running game got noticeably better when they entered the game. Neither one of these guys has much hope outside of a practice squad spot. Between them last night, Ivie recorded an assisted tackle.

Honorable Mentions:

Jaylon Smith

Dave Halprin says: “He already looked better than a bunch of guys in this league.”

“As has been noted before, when he needs to use his straight line speed he looks fine, it’s the quick start/stops and lateral movement that still has a ways to go. He didn’t seem lost and his instincts about diagnosing pass or run were good, he looked sharp in that area.

The key thing, though, is he looked like a legit NFL football player out there.”

Cooper Rush

At the very least, Cooper Rush has shown more than enough to warrant keeping a third quarterback. It’s clear that Scott Linehan loves Kellen Moore but it would be unwise to just let Cooper Rush go in the cut to 53.

Rod Smith

Now, Rod Smith is no rookie but he’s never been given this much exposure in three years. Here’s O.C.C.:

“You have to love the effort put forth by Rod Smith. And not just because of his ridiculous 7.6 Y/A, or the Hallmark Channel story of playing on the same team as his brother.

What impressed me was Smith's running style that him bouncing off one defender after another as he pushed his way up the field like a bowling ball leaving pins tumbling in its wake. This may not be the best running style for a long NFL career, but it sure is fun watching all those missed tackles against Smith.”

That’s a wrap for this week, the Cowboys will be back on the practice field at the Star in Frisco. There’s still plenty of work left to do for these youngsters.